What is the significance of Dr. T.J. Eckelberg

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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We see the eyes of Dr T.J. Eckleburg first in chapter 2. He is a faded billboard figure which once advertised an opticians. The billboard presides over the valley of ashes, a desolate and run- down are between West Egg and New York.

The eyes are not part of a face, and look sightlessly over the area of greyness and despondency. The setting is used to highlight the class chasm which exists in the novel. The eyes also seem to be an omnipotent presence, recording but not impacting on the events which unfold in the story. Dr T J Eckleburg symbolizes the inaction of the observers – Nick Carraway included – to prevent the destruction of beauty within landscape and people.

 But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.

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